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Britain Shipping Long-Range Missiles to Kyiv


FILE - A member of the military walks past a MBDA Storm Shadow/Scalp missile at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 17, 2018
FILE - A member of the military walks past a MBDA Storm Shadow/Scalp missile at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 17, 2018

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Britain is sending Ukraine long-range cruise missiles to help it fight off the 14-month Russian invasion, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Thursday.

The deployment of the Storm Shadow missiles, with a range of 250 kilometers, is the first known shipment of the type of weaponry that Kyiv has long sought from its Western allies.

Wallace told lawmakers in the House of Commons that the missiles "are now going into or are in the country itself" but did not say how many.

British media reported that the missiles will give Ukraine the capacity to strike well behind the front lines, including in Russia-occupied Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014. The reports said that Ukraine has pledged not to use the missiles to attack Russia itself.

Wallace said the missiles would be used to take the fight to Russian forces in "Ukrainian sovereign territory." He characterized Britain’s support for Ukraine as "responsible, calibrated, coordinated and agile. We simply will not stand back while Russia kills civilians."

Ukraine holding off on counteroffensive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it is not yet time for his forces to launch a long-anticipated counteroffensive to recapture territory held by invading Russian troops.

“We still need a bit more time,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with British media outlets released Thursday.

Preparations include training of Ukrainian forces by Western partners, as well as shipments of ammunition, tanks and air defense systems to boost the capabilities of the Ukrainian side.

"With [what we have] we can go forward and be successful," Zelenskyy said. "But we'd lose a lot of people. I think that's unacceptable."

Late Wednesday, Adm. Bob Bauer, who chairs the NATO Military Committee, told reporters that Ukraine will be able to fight with better weapons, while having fewer soldiers available than Russia.

"The Russians will have to focus on quantity," he said. "Larger number of conscripts and mobilized people. Not well-trained. Older materiel, but large numbers, and not as precise, not as good as the newer ones."

Some material in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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